Mistress of the Wind, by Michelle Diener (review)

January 8, 2014 Book Reviews, YA fantasy 6 ★★★½

Mistress of the Wind, by Michelle Diener (review)Mistress of the Wind by Michelle Diener
Published by self-published on Dec. 19, 2013
Genres: Fairy Tales, Fantasy, YA (Young Adult)
Format: eARC
Source: the author
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Bjorn needs to find a very special woman . . .

The fate of his people, and his own life, depends on it. But when he does find her, she is nothing like he imagined, and may just harbor more secrets than he does himself.

Astrid has never taken well to commands. No matter who issues them . . .

She's clashed her whole life with her father, and now her lover, the mysterious man who comes to her bedroom in darkness and disappears to guard his mountain by day as a bear, is finding it out the hard way. And when he's taken by his enemies, no one is prepared for Astrid's response.

It is never wise to anger the mistress of the wind . . .

A captivating and magical adult retelling of the fairy tale 'East of the Sun, West of the Moon.'

This book contains mature content and may not be suitable for younger readers.


“East of the Sun, West of the Moon” is one of my favorite fairytales, and Michelle Diener does it justice in Mistress of the Wind.  She introduces an intriguing twist, giving heroine Astrid command over air and winds—a power Astrid is initially unaware she bears.  Both Astrid and Bjorn, the bear/prince, are viewpoint characters, and Diener expands on both just enough to make them interesting and believable without losing the fairytale feel.  The story is replete with magical secondary characters.

For a self-published book, the production values, from cover design to proofreading to formatting, are really professional.   Diener writes well and fluently, though her prose occasionally takes on a faintly purple hue.  She never goes too far, however, and the style is well-suited to a fairytale retelling. Her pacing is excellent, and kept me turning the pages.

Mistress of the Wind would fit well in the older MG/YA fantasy subgenre if it were not for the explicitness of one scene; older readers will not find it too much (though possibly too soon in the hero and heroine’s relationship), but parents may prefer to have their younger or precocious readers wait a few years more.  That’s really the only thing that kept me from giving this book 4 stars; I felt that the audience wasn’t quite clear.  There’s no reason that adult readers won’t enjoy it, of course; I certainly did!

Having read Mistress of the Wind, I’m looking forward to giving Diener’s historical novels a try.  If she writes that genre as well as she did this first foray into fantasy, they are sure to be good!




About Michelle Diener

Michelle Diener writes historical fiction, science fiction and fantasy. Having worked in publishing and IT, she’s now very happy crafting new worlds and interesting characters and wondering which part of the world she can travel to next.

Michelle was born in London, grew up in South Africa and currently lives in Australia with her husband and two children.

When she’s not writing, or driving her kids from activity to activity, you can find her blogging at Magical Musings, or online at Twitter, at Google+ and Facebook.

6 Responses to “Mistress of the Wind, by Michelle Diener (review)”

  1. Bea

    I keep hearing great things about this book. I really need to see if my library has it.

    • Lark @ The Bookwyrm's Hoard

      Since it’s self-published, the chances that your library has it are probably lower than if it came from a traditional publisher, but it’s worth checking. I hope you find it!

  2. readerholicnotes

    I saw this book and thought it sounded interesting. I love ‘East of the Sun, West of the Moon,” too. Thanks for a great review, Lark!

    • Lark @ The Bookwyrm's Hoard

      It’s definitely worth reading! I think my favorite version is Dennis McKiernan’s Once Upon a Winter’s Night, but there are several other retellings/re-imaginings that I’ve heard good things about and want to read – one by Jessica Day George, one by Edith Patou, and Beth Durst’s version sounds interesting, too.